Kuwait: Kuwait- Arrest and detention of human rights defenders Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli and Abdullah Ghanim


On 13 December 2012 protestors gathered in Taimaa square near Kuwait city, calling for the release of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli and his brother Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli who were arrested in recent days for their peaceful activism in calling for equal rights for the Bedoon community in Kuwait. Another Bedoon activist Abdullah Ghanim remains in detention following his arrest earlier this month.

On 11 December 2012 Bedoon activist Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli was taken by police just hours before a planned protest demanding rights for Bedoon people was due to take place.  A state police car collided with his car and he was arrested. Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli is reportedly being detained in the criminal investigations jail however this has not been confirmed, as he has not been allowed visitors.

At approximately 5pm on 9 December 2012 his brother Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli was noticed missing and at around midnight his family were informed that he had been arrested by State Police earlier that day and taken to prison.

Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli confirmed on Sunday night that the police had taken his brother in an attempt to target him for his activism in organising people to attend the Bedoon rights protests.

Before the arrest of his brother he had written a statement calling on Bedoon and Kuwaitis to protest for Bedoon rights. He referred to the constant failure of the Government to solve the Bedoon issue and stated that the Government had dealt with the issue with oppression, human rights violations and discrimination. Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli is currently in detention in the Central jail and his father has been allowed to visit him.

It is reported that the brothers were arrested following a court sentence of two years in prison and a deportation order was made against them. The verdict was handed down in their absence and reportedly concerns a case against them in relation to an alleged attack on a policeman during a protest in March. The policeman in question allegedly dropped the case but the authorities have used it as a means of targeting the two activists. They are going to appeal the verdict. The deportation order made against them is particularly stranger given that as Bedoon they are stateless and have no official documents. It is feared that this is an attempt by authorities to intimidate other Bedoon from calling on the authorities to grant them equal rights.

On 3 December 2012 Bedoon activist Abdullah Ghanim was summoned and arrested for participating in a Bedoon protest which took place on 2 October 2012 (for further information on this protest please see GCHR appeal dated 6 October 2012 http://gc4hr.org/news/view/256). He remains in detention in the criminal investigations jail.

The GCHR believes that the arrest and detention of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli and Abdullah Ghanim are directly related to the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and their peaceful activities for the rights of the Bedoon in Kuwait and calls for their immediate release.

The GCHR urges the authorities in Kuwait to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defenders of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli and Abdullah Ghanim;
  2. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli, Abdulnasser Al-Fadhli and Abdullah Ghanim;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all those working peacefully for equal rights for the Bedoon in Kuwait are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

The GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (c) “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” and to  Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.